Sunday, September 1, 2013

Autism and Echolalia



If you have a child with Autism, you most likely have heard of the term "echolalia." For those of you who don't know the meaning of that word, according to the Autism Speaks website, it is the "repetition of words, phrases and intonations, or sounds of the speech of others."  Out of the many, many Autism websites out there, I have found theirs to be one of the best. Here is the link:  http://www.autismspeaks.org/ . When Dominic was just learning to talk he was the "king" of echolalia.  If we asked him a question like, "what do you want to drink - water or milk?" he would either repeat back part of the sentence or the last word in the sentence.  That is called "immediate echolalia."  Dominic has a remarkable memory.  He can recite entire passages of a book, movie or video that he has seen in it's entirety.  That is called "delayed echolalia" or "scripting" because he is repeating back something that he heard a minute ago, hours ago, a day ago, or longer.  Since about the beginning of the summer, he has been saying a phrase that we don't like.  We have tried everything to stop him from saying it, but it's really not doing any good.  When he has been saying it to me I've been telling him, "do you kiss your mother with that mouth??"  Now, for the past week or so he'll say the phrase we don't like, immediately followed by, "mother with that mouth!"  He's a real comedian :) Dominic used to think taking the things to be recycled out to the bin we have out in the garage was the most coolest thing ever.  Lately, he hasn't thought it's that great (or cool) anymore.  When he stopped liking to do it, I asked him, "is it because it's lost its magic?" He didn't really respond to that, but the next time after that when I asked him to toss something into the bin, he said, "lost it's magic!" Again, he's a real comedian!! Dominic has had the most amazing social worker since he started school when he was 3.  She just retired at the end of this past school year and we will really, really miss her. She told me something once that I have never forgotten. When Dominic would start "scripting" at school she would tell him, "stop the movie!" We tell him the same thing at home now. Great advice from a very wise woman.  A few years back, Dominic started talking about "laris" incessantly. My hubby even starting asking him if it was an imaginary friend.  After many months, it was determined that "laris" was actually his word for hilarious because I guess when he did something funny once we told him he was "hilarious." One thing that is different now since he is older is that when he is "scripting" we can ask him where he heard a particular sentence, etc. and he can tell us where he heard it.  He doesn't do the intense "scripting" so much these days, so when he launches into it big time, I know something is not quite right.  It is usually when he is overstimulated or under stimulated.  Dominic does the "scripting" as a way of soothing himself.  Has anyone else had children that did a lot of echolalia?  I would be curious to hear from other parents who have had similar experiences like our family has had.   Please feel free to comment!!

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